How to Choose the Best Cloud Hosting Platform for Your Analytics Software

Adnan Raja
by (151posts) under Cloud Hosting
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You could ask 50 different CEOs why they are moving their businesses to the cloud and get 50 different answers. But one of the biggest reasons we’re seeing so much migration to the cloud is because of the exponential growth in data being gathered, stored and analyzed across the economy as a whole.

Most businesses already have complex, dedicated analytic software in place well before they move to the cloud. This analytic software assists employees in making decisions on marketing, advertising, customer retention, supply chains, packing/shipping, warehouse management, delivery routes, human resources and more.

When businesses get ready to move to the cloud, one of the biggest questions they ask is: “Will my existing software systems be compatible with the cloud?”

With a vital business component like data analytics, the answer to this question can be a deal-breaker. For obvious reasons, companies would much rather hang on to their tried-and-tested analytics software and seek out a complimentary cloud hosting platform rather than switch to a new, untested analytics interface that fits with their first choice for hosting.

In this article, we’ll break down the most important qualities that your firm should look for in picking the ideal cloud computing environment to host your company’s data, as well as its analytics software.

Security for Cloud Analytics

Security of your data and proprietary information should be of supreme importance to your company. Security is rarely about corporate espionage or terrorist activity, but frequently about professional and amateur hackers seeking to steal information which they in turn can sell on the dark web. Or, hackers simply cause trouble that ends up costing businesses time, money and reputation.

If you’re going to be putting your company’s data analytics on the cloud, that means all your company’s data will be there too. Depending on your company’s nature of business, this can easily include:

  • Customer personal information
  • Customer credit card information
  • Electronic health records (EHR)
  • Your marketing/advertising strategies
  • Your company’s financial records

Exposing any of these types of data to online criminals could be the death knell of your organization. So what makes one cloud hosting company more secure than the next?

The answer is two-fold and must be explored before you hire a company to handle your web analytics.

First, there are plenty of cloud hosting websites that provide only hosting, leaving the security side of things up to the clients. For obvious reasons, these providers should be avoided.

Second, there are cloud hosting companies that provide security. The three aspects of security you will want to grill them on are physical security, encryption and the security of the company’s API and web interface.

Encryption is becoming a standard security practice for web-based digital technology. When we’re uploading sensitive information to or downloading it from the cloud, we want to know that it’s not  exposed to unauthorized third parties. The best companies will encrypt information both within their own networks and across the Internet.

The API/web interface is basically the front door to the cloud. If the host has the equivalent of a screen door guarding it, hackers are likely come barging in. If they’ve got the digital equivalent of burglar bars and a video surveillance set up, the hackers won’t be successful nearly as often.

Finally, the cloud might seem to exist “up there somewhere”, but every cloud hosting company has a physical location where its servers are stored. You’ll want to ask potential service providers how that location is protected from both internal and external threats before signing a contract.

Cloud Hosting Reliability

Let’s talk cars for a minute. Back in the late 1980s, you could buy a Yugo for $3,990. Heck of a price, but it came with a few caveats. First of all, it was the slowest auto on the road in the US. Second, 126,000 of the first ones sold in the US failed their state emission tests. The car was off the market within a few years. It was definitely affordable, but you couldn’t trust it any further than you could throw it.

Reliability is paramount in picking a cloud hosting provider for your data analytics. So much of what we now do with data happens in real-time and affects decisions made the same day, the same hour, and even the same minute that the analytics are being run. If your cloud hosting service is running slow or malfunctioning, it can cost your company vital information that guides your most important business decisions.

When comparing and interviewing companies to be your cloud computing host, ask about things like how much processing power and bandwidth they can dedicate to your data and analytics. They don’t call it Big Data for nothing. Your company needs to feel confident that the cloud hosting environment you inhabit can handle any size processing job you put in front of it.

Cloud Hosting Availability

My wife and I used to subscribe to the Sunday edition of our local newspaper because it had all the best coupons for the grocery store. But at least 50 percent of the time, it wouldn’t get delivered. When I called to complain, I’d get an apology, a credit to my account, and the offer of a free newspaper on Monday. But, a Monday newspaper was absolutely worthless to me; no coupons in that one. I paid for a service and expected it to be available to me at the exact time I needed it. Your choice of cloud computing company for hosting data analytics should be just as rigid. It doesn’t matter if your business operates from 9 a.m – 5 p.m. or 5 p.m. – 9 a.m., your vendor should be able to have your spot on the cloud up and running every single second you need it. Nothing less is acceptable when you’re paying money and investing your company’s reputation in a cloud service provider. Uptime is the magic ticket for cloud hosting companies. The closer to 100% they are, the easier it is for them to attract new customers.

Top-flight industrial cloud hosting providers strive for uptimes between 99.95-99.99%. In day-to-day life, there’s not a whole lot of difference in those numbers, but when you’re talking about cloud availability things get a little trickier.

Here’s a quick look comparison of four different uptimes to get a grasp of just how much a little percentage change can mean to your business.

 

Uptime %

Time lost/day Time lost/week Time lost/month Time lost/year

95%

72 minutes

8 hours, 24 minutes

36 hours

432 hours

99%

14.4 minutes

1 hour, 41 minutes

7 hours, 12 minutes

87.6 hours

99.5%

7.2 minutes

50.4 minutes

3 hours, 36 minutes

43.8 hours

99.99% 8.6 seconds 1 minute, 12 seconds 4 minutes, 30 seconds

52.3 minutes

 

As you can see, the relatively small difference in uptime rates adds up to a shocking total time lost  over the course of a year. Even the difference between the top two times – just 0.49% – equates to an extra hour of downtime per week. And make sure you review a company’s claims to its uptime before you go swiping your credit card. False advertising is just as prevalent in the cloud as everywhere else.

Conclusion

A detail-oriented, comprehensive solution is what you should consider when searching out the best cloud hosting platform for your company’s analytics software. Don’t just read the copy on a website and sign up. Get a dedicated look at each cloud environment with a walkthrough or a trial use package to ensure that the vendor in question not only has what you need, but can do what they claim for your company.


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